It's hard for developers to recover from mistakes from original IPs, especially when they put all their eggs in one basket. But when mistakes come about in established franchises, it's usually something that they can move on from, apologize to the fans and go on to the next game in hopes of making amends with something better.
Insomniac, a very successful developer in the industry, is responsible for one of the most recognizable and iconic franchises for Sony and their many consoles, starting back on the PS2. Ratchet & Clank has been a stable, consistent staple among the plethora of Sony franchises, and has routinely put out one good game after another, always trying to reinvent the franchise while still attempting to keep consistency within their overarching storylines that span multiple games.
Ratchet & Clank: All 4 One might be one of those games that Insomniac would like to take a mulligan on.
Sure, they tried to reinvent the wheel by changing the core principle mechanic of single player gameplay to try a 4-player co-op experience, and I have to give them kudos for trying. But I think they put more thought and care into trying to make the best possible 4-player co-op game than they did the actual game itself. Maybe because I'm a social introvert and don't see the broad appeal of this idea, but for me, the Ratchet & Clank series has always been about platforming, collecting and awesome weapons. The moment something comes along to mess with that formula, I have reject the notion.
For some reason, the levels just seem to drag on and on in this game. Is it because they made them bigger to accommodate four players? I'm not entirely sure, but they feel like they go on forever. It would be one thing if the levels were all super exciting and engaging, but I find them to just be repetitive and sluggish by the end of each level.
The storyline is meh as well, as I found myself completely disengaged from it soon after starting. It's a spin-off game from the Future storyline that was the few games before this one, and it was essentially just created to accommodate the four player twist.
When it comes down to it, I just want the tried and true Ratchet & Clank formula. This wasn't the first time I played this game, as I put significant hours into it when I first got it many moons ago through PS Plus. But I was hoping some time away from it would yield different reactions to what I was playing. Unfortunately that didn't happen. Is it bad enough to be considered a mistake by Insomniac? In my humble opinion, I feel like they tried something new to breathe new life into a long running franchise, but they went too far outside the lines to make it work, so yes, a mistake it was.
Thankfully, Ratchet & Clank: Into the Nexus is on the horizon, and it is promised to return the series back to its roots, where the fan base is patiently waiting for them. Hopefully it won't be too little, too late.